- Posted August 30, 2013 by
Los Angeles, California
'Pork' scams tarnish Philippine President Aquino's image
rage by well-intentioned citizens about the country's scarce resources being rerouted to the pockets of horrendously greedy officials in the top tier of the
administration and the legislature has been reflected in social networking, newspaper opinion pages and the gigantic display of indignation at the Luneta on
Monday, August 26.
Of the senators and congressmen, it is a given that most of them are in cahoots with one another to further their selfish interests. Otherwise, anyone of them could
have made earnest efforts to curtail the multi-billion peso-Mother of All Scams from reaching dizzying proportions considering that it has been going on for many
years. Service to the public seems to be an afterthought as far as most of our legislators are concerned.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares was reported saying that the main reason why Congress does not want to investigate the scam "is because those who are
involved are in power.” Colmenares added that the lawmakers’ involvement should spur Congress to investigate the scam or “risk being accused of making a cover-up.”
However, what has been a great shock to die hard supporters of President Aquino was the revelation that their idol could wash off his hands from the scandal.
According to former National Treasurer Leonor Briones the lump sums under the President's discretion to disburse is around P1 trillion.
Additionally, from The Daily Tribune: "It has been found that, apart from the more than a trillion peso presidential pork, officially known as priority development
assistance funds (PDAF) hidden in the P2.268 trillion 2014 national budget which Congress cannot scrutinize, President Aquino has at his disposal more than a
hundred billion pesos from the Malampaya funds which Congress will never have a chance to scrutinize at all.
God have mercy on my homeland! As president Aquino may not account how this much money will be spent. Already his once squeaky clean image had been
tarnished by accusations that huge amounts exchanged hands during Supreme Court Justice Corona's impeachment proceedings as well as in the RH
(Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012) passage.
There are now talks about inquiring how much pork barrel, otherwise known as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), had P-Noy received when he was senator and how he disposed of it. P-Noy's actuations may have also lent credibility to suspicions that he conspired with legislators not to act on the popular Freedom of Information (FOI) bill in order to maintain secrecy of their pork barrel skeletons from the prying public.
Los Angeles rallies And so starting at noon on Sunday, August 25, the chant "Noynoy, Oink-Oink!"
reverberated in the streets of downtown Los Angeles together with other slogans such as, "Napoles, you're a whack. Tell your mommy to give our money back!" At
that time cause-oriented groups were conducting a picket in front of what news reports identified as the $2-million Ritz Carlton residence of Jeane Napoles, high-flying daughter of Janet who is a central figure of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Janet Napoles and a brother co-accused took flight after warrants were issued for their arrest in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a pork barrel scam whistleblower. However, she had since surfaced and surrendered to President Aquino himself in Malacanang, which in turn fueled conspiracy theories regarding
the president's involvement in this continuing saga.
The LA protesters were denouncing corruption in the Philippines and demanding the immediate abolition of all pork barrel funds. Speakers said that while many of
our countrymen are agonizing in extreme want and millions are slaving in foreign lands because there are no job opportunities at home, corrupt leaders are
wallowing in illegally acquired wealth that should have gone to much needed projects. They cited how the Napoleses are flaunting their luxurious living furtively
financed by taxpayers money as example of the corruption that has been going on in the Motherland.
Among the speakers were Kuusela Hilo of Panaghiusa; Teresa Jaranilla, Bayan-USA; Eric Tandoc and Paula Abad, Anakbayan-USA; Jolo Buktaw, Advocacy Ministry; Joanna Concepcion, Filipino Migrant Center; and Terrie
Cervas, Gabriella-USA. The protest was part of what organizers said was “international day of action” to abolish all pork barrels. Similar rallies were going
on that day involving overseas Filipinos in Canada, Hong Kong, UAE and other parts of the world, they said.
Some of the picket participants joined another indignation rally held starting at 5:00 pm that same day in front of the building housing the Philippine Consulate General in Wilshire Blvd. Addressing the crowd were Wally Reyes, Atty. Ramon Mosqueda, Maria Aniano Wetzel, Kuusela Hilo, Fe Koons, Emily Roberts, Sheryl Zerate, Larry Pelayo, Dick Aquino, Beth Najarro, Felix Lapuz and Grace Pinon.
The big surprise of the event was the appearance of Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu. He was there to accept the petition but at the same time urged
the crowd not to involve politics in their advocacy for reforms. "Sa demokratikong lipunan magagawan ng paraan ang katiwalian (In a democratic society there are
means to deal with wrongdoings)," Espiritu said. The crowd later sang Bayan (Country) and ended the protest action at about 6:15 pm with Bayang Magiliw
(Philippine national anthem). -- Dionesio C. Grava
LA RALLY. An advocate for reform, Kuusela Hilo explains how a trillion pesos ripped off by top government officials could have gone a long way towards
alleviating the plight of so many hungry and homeless countrymen and providing job opportunities to the nearly five thousand Filipinos leaving the homeland everyday. Inset, from left, are some of the speakers in the anti-pork barrel rallies: Deputy Congen Daniel Espiritu, Eric Tandoc, Maria Aniano Wetzel and Jolo Buktaw. At right, inset, Emily Roberts signs a petition for abolishing the pork barrel system. PHOTOS BY EDWIN MANGUBAT